Juror Expelled from Major Fraud Case After Receiving $120,000 Bribe

Thompson recounted that the juror’s abode was unoccupied at the moment of the episode; instead, her father-in-law was there when the woman swung by.

“She dropped off a bag declaring, ‘This is for Juror 52,'” Thompson relayed to Brasel. “‘Another bag will follow if she votes for acquittal.'”

Discovering the occurrence upon her return, the juror promptly informed law enforcement, Thompson added. Authorities handed the cash-filled sack to the FBI.

Thompson refrained from clarifying if the purported bribe targeted all defendants or merely specific ones.

The defendants face a slew of 41 indictments including wire fraud, bribery, and money laundering. They allegedly pilfered $41 million designated for feeding disenfranchised youngsters. This trial is just one fragment of a broader investigation involving 70 culprits who reportedly snatched $250 million from the Child Nutrition Program.

Defense attorneys expressed their discomfort over these accusations to Brasel.

The targeted juror, a 23-year-old woman from the northern metro, seemed the sole juror of color. She was absent from court that Monday morning.

Brasel excused her and then quizzed the others. Each denied any external contacts, including media, in front of the defendants.

Brasel vowed to sequester the jurors during deliberations. “Ensuring our jurors’ security and their capacity for impartial decision-making is paramount,” she asserted.

Given the gravity, sequestering became the only viable strategy to guarantee fairness, Brasel explained.

At the defense’s request, she promised to regularly remind jurors to avoid media exposure and to keep their phones in emergency mode to elude any news regarding the trial.

Thompson pushed for the immediate detention of all seven defendants for the trial’s duration. They remained unconfined after their indictments.

The court mandated enhanced security. Brasel ordered the U.S. Marshals to secure but not inspect the defendants’ mobiles. Before breaking for lunch, she restricted the defendants to the courthouse for the remainder of the day.

The prosecution planned to seek a warrant to search the defendants’ phones, an issue Brasel said another judge would address.

Legal scholars comment on the rare allegations

“I’m staggered,” admitted Joe Daly, an emeritus professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, upon hearing the claims. Jury tampering undermines the bedrock of justice,” he remarked.

“If jury tampering becomes known, it taints the defendants’ perception adversely,” he noted, conscious that Brasel would manage the sensitive details skillfully.

Despite nearing the trial’s completion, Daly doubted Brasel would call a mistrial. Conversely, Schultz from the University of Minnesota envisioned a likely mistrial, questioning the integrity of the remaining jurors.

“A mistrial could ripple into further trials, stalling them until the briber is identified,” Schultz speculated, noting the systemic implications.

Both Daly and Schultz found the juror’s identity compromise troubling, pondering on potential systemic vulnerabilities.

Stay tuned as this story evolves.

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